A new book claims the US’s top military officer secretly told the Chinese military he would warn if Trump ordered an attack. His reasons don’t matter – he must be relieved of command

On Tuesday, the Washington Post published a bombshell drawn from a forthcoming book by the journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa: during the final days of Donald Trump’s presidency, Gen Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and the US’s highest-ranking military officer, called the senior ranking general of the Chinese military and offered to warn him in advance of any American military action against China.

Milley, who reportedly believed that Trump was unstable and might launch a politically motivated military operation, contacted the Chinese without the knowledge of the White House. He no doubt thought that his decision was for the greater good. But if he did indeed negotiate with a foreign military rival without authorization, he violated the longstanding American political tradition that the military is subordinate to elected civilian leaders.

I mean, we’ve been warning – my little agency – for the last almost 10 years about issues with the … Afghan security forces’ capabilities and sustainment. All the signs have been there. I mean, we’ve been shining a light on it in multiple reports going back to when I started [in] 2012 about changing metrics, about … ghost soldiers who didn’t exist, about poor logistics, about the fact that the Afghans couldn’t sustain what we were giving them. … I think the speed maybe is a little bit of a surprise. But the fact that the [Afghan forces] could not fight on their own should not have been a surprise to anyone.

Daniel L Davis is a senior fellow at Defense Priorities and a former lieutenant colonel in the US army who deployed in combat zones four times. He is the author of The Eleventh Hour in 2020 America

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